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Lifestyle Medicine

What is Lifestyle Medicine?

Lifestyle medicine aims to improve a patient’s health by making positive lifestyle changes. The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine aims to shift the thinking of medical professionals by educating them on nutrition, daily habits and other lifestyle choices which influence disease. This additional training allows healthcare professionals to advise patients on how they can take control of their own health and recovery.

Lifestyle medicine is a relatively new approach to the management of chronic diseases as a result of widespread recognition that conditions such as Coronary Heart Disease, Hypertension, Diabetes etc. are preventable and can be reversed or ‘cured’ by changes in lifestyle, because they are in fact caused largely by lifestyle choices – including dietary excesses.

However, the concept that lifestyle affects health is not new. Hippocrates said many centuries ago – ‘let food be thy medicine.’ The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.

There are six principles of Lifestyle Medicine:

  1. Eating a predominantly whole food, plant-based diet
  2. Regular physical activity
  3. Adequate sleep
  4. Stress management
  5. Avoidance of risky substance use
  6. Connections and social interaction

Even now, Doctors learn very little about nutrition as part of their syllabus in medical school. They are exposed as much to the controversies and pressures of the food and farming industry and are often as confused about matters pertaining to nutrition and diet as the lay public is.

Unfortunately, a lot of the published literature is not free of bias and are often in fact sponsored by vested interests and profits. However, scientific studies and the knowledge – free from bias – is out there for the discerning few.

Chronic health conditions cannot be managed purely by medication, this a very naïve way of managing health. Real change though must come from the patient. A lifestyle medicine practitioner is trained to give guidance, motivate, monitor change and assist the patient in a quest for better health.

Ultimately the right to choose good health via a better lifestyle is a choice that rests with the patient and not with health care providers. A lifestyle medicine practitioner can help those that are ready to make real change to their own health and willing to take control of it.

Mr Rajiv Bajekal is certified in Lifestyle Medicine, having earned a diploma from The British Society of Lifestyle Medicine in 2017. He will use his knowledge gained to engage with patients and operate within a boundary of evidence-informed medicine.

He takes a holistic approach to his patient’s orthopaedic care, incorporating their values, mindset and social context to develop a unique plan tailored to them. Mr Bajekal will also advise on nutrition choices, physical activity, environment and sleep patterns to encourage wellness benefits that will ultimately lead to a healthier life – and quicker recovery.

Total Orthopaedics’ ethos revolves around patient-focused care, which is complemented by the practice of Lifestyle Medicine. All consultants at Total Orthopaedics take a holistic approach to their patients, looking at all possible alternatives prior to recommending surgery.


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